By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
For most Americans, being safe and responsible means that venturing too far away from our homes has limited — or even eliminated — our travel and vacation plans. However, with the release of three approved vaccines and with statistics starting to trend in the right direction, Americans are finally starting to plan what we will do and where we will go, once we are no longer confined to our homes. Travel agents are starting to see an uptick in getaway requests.
Destination: The World.
If your plans include destinations that can only be found on other continents, Amsterdam, the capital of, and most populous city in, the Netherlands should be on the list.
Just a seven-hour flight from New York or Washington, DC, Amsterdam is an exciting place for African Americans to explore, according to Dr. Nadeen White, a physician and travel blogger.
“When picking a city in Europe to visit for the first time, many people flock to London or Paris,” said Dr. White, who operates The Sophisticated Life blog. “Amsterdam is a great place to start. It is in a central location with an excellent train station so you can get to numerous cities in Europe at affordable prices in just a few hours.”
“The city itself is not cheap, but there are budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and food stalls, and friendly faces.”
The Dutch capital offers plenty of entertainment and culture, and its nightlife bustles at the many bars and pubs, clubs, and museums.
Amsterdam’s famous cobblestone streets and the breathtaking facades of the city’s canal houses, find many of its visitors taking advantage of walking tours of the city as they visit the Museum van Loon or the Huis Marseille, where top photo exhibitions immediately catch the eye.
In a 2020 blog, Dr. White offered some of the food and drink recommendations she received, including Heineken beer, herring, gin and tonic, and Dutch pancakes.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find that Amsterdam had a lot of international cuisines,” Dr. White noted. “This in part comes from immigrants from countries they colonized such as Indonesia and Suriname.”
Among the other offerings that Dr. White found satisfying were chunks of fried fish fried in a style similar fish and chips, called “Kibbeling.”
Kibbeling is often served with a mayonnaise-based sauce and is crispy and tasty, Dr. White remarked.
“Don’t leave Amsterdam without trying an Indonesian rice table,” added Dr. White in her conversation with NNPA Newswire. “De Hallen Food Hall is a convenient place to go and sample different foods in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is also well-known for its ‘coffee shops,’” she added.
“There are 166 cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam. There is a recent effort to limit access to these shops to tourists. If you are looking for good coffee, head to a café or coffee house, not [one of the] coffee shops,” Dr. White advised.
A week-long vacation in Amsterdam is surprising affordable and definitely comparable (cost-wise) to vacationing closer to home. A stay in one of Amsterdam’s five-star hotels, like the Renaissance Amsterdam, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, and Pulitzer Amsterdam, will average from $233 to $356 per night.
Travelers can snag a roundtrip, nonstop flight from New York or Washington to Amsterdam for about $515.
If you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands within the next few weeks or months, you’ll need to brief yourself on the Netherland’s policies and requirements for airline travelers. A helpful resource that outlines testing requirements and restrictions for Americans and others with travel plans in the near future, is the website for the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands.